Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Martin Ocando
MOD Martin Ocando Veteran Member • Posts: 6,402
I follow David Hobby advice
16

I saw a video where he was explaining to Kai Wong about UV filters. And I completely agree. I hate lens caps to death. I keep losing them, I hate hanging them with cords or storing them in my pockets. So I use the best UV filters that I can afford. Usually B+W or Breakthrough Photography, a San Francisco based manufacturer of premium filters. Then I keep the caps in the lenses for storage. When I'm going out shooting, I take all the caps and put them on a pocket in my camera bag, and leave the lenses with the hood on. So the filter plus the hood is all the protection I need.

Most of my lenses are weatherproof, and so are the filters, but since I also use them on my non-weatherproof lenses, I'm kind of adding a tad bit of extra protection against moisture or light rain. Is not a fully fledged weatherproofing, but is better than nothing.

I've never ever experienced any significant loss in quality by using quality UVs.

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Martin
"One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it" - Galen Rowell

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brianric Veteran Member • Posts: 8,796
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
4

Use to until last year on a shoot at the SteelShacks in Bethlehem PA when I noticed reflections when doing background shots of the steel mills. Now, unless I'm at the beach in windy weather the filters stay off.

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MyReality
MyReality Contributing Member • Posts: 900
Re: Division of opinion
1

Yes, I do, especially on more expensive lenses.  Lens coatings can be ruined by such things as blowing dust or sand.  Acidic rain and salt water are not good for lens coatings.  They should be cleaned off as soon as possible if you do not use a filter.

UV filters are called that for a reason.  They trap ultraviolet light and as a result have a dehazing effect giving a higher contrast image.

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nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,709
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

https://luminous-landscape.com/the-filter-flare-factor/

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firemachine69 Regular Member • Posts: 357
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
2

I bumped my 70-200 while kneeling down on a gravel drive. Yes, the lens hood was on. Got a nice scratch in my UV protector. Replaced UV protector, good as new. I was pretty distraught over killing a $60 filter.

Now imagine if I had scratched the lens element instead.

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Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 8,974
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
5

nevada5 wrote:

https://luminous-landscape.com/the-filter-flare-factor/

the protector on the front of my most expensive lens has a couple of marks on its coating which otherwise would have been on the front element of the lens. This despite me taking reasonable care when walking in the bush and always using the lens hood.

I have never had any flare issues and despite some careful examination cannot see any detrimental effect on image quality caused by the filter.

The takeaway from that Luminous Landscape article is:  “So use a filter when you need one“

Peter

cpt kent Contributing Member • Posts: 522
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
4

I use a filter, usually a clear one. The best I can afford.

The only real reason for me is that I’d rather clean a filter (dirt, salt spray, etc) hundreds of times over the life of the lens than clean the front element. I can replace a filter, I can’t replace a front element, and I’d just rather keep it as new and untouched as possible.

Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Veteran Member • Posts: 3,005
Filters are a MUST
8

(The link from Luminous Landscapes that someone posted, is full of utter nonsense. It is quite incredible that people believe such things and even quote them. Let me explain why are such articles ridden with misconceptions, so you will judge better.)

UV Filters

1. As for the UV filters, they are a must, first and foremost, because users seldom know exactly (especially when the new camera comes out) what level of UV filtering is applied onto the sensor, or what kind of coating lens has.

2. The UV filter is also required for serious outdoor photography, regardless of camera or lenses used, because the UV intensity levels change every hour, and the on-sensor UV filters are not enough. UV levels are also different for different parts of the world, and for different altitudes. It is not same to shoot in the dark forests of Bavaria, or in the Australian outback: the UV levels are radically different. With every 1000 metres increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10–12%.

3. Increased UV also influences nearby parts of the spectrum, especially the HeV blues, and the UV filter helps to minimise the issues. If the UV is not controlled, expect some issues in your visible spectrum that the camera will record.

No UV Filter

UV Filter On

Other filters

The filters have a very important place in the world of photography, from day one until today. Any type of serious, commercial photography is impossible to do without a suitable set of filters.

The same rule applies for the filmography/cinematography and the videography in general – it is impossible to create commercial quality footage without suitable filters.

(unless one wants the video to look like a horrible backyard experiment from someone that knows absolutely nothing)

Why is that? Because photography and videography depend on

1. the manipulation of light itself (incident light), and
2. the manipulation of the light that is influenced by the environment (reflected light),

Caught in between two, a sensible photographer, or a videographer must learn to control both because the audience has

(A) a certain level of knowledge, expectation and judgement, and
(B) has a certain threshold required for new excitement.

The camera alone, or the lens alone, cannot know anything about how the incident and reflected light should be manipulated, so the artist needs – external help.

That help comes in the form of (1) external light sources, and (2) the filters.

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epozar Senior Member • Posts: 1,123
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

Yes. Or Protect

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JaKing
JaKing Senior Member • Posts: 6,233
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
6

nevada5 wrote:

https://luminous-landscape.com/the-filter-flare-factor/

That article is 10 years old ...

Even the coatings on garbage filters have improved since then ...

Good brand, high quality filters were always good. These days, they are even better.

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Wu Jiaqiu
Wu Jiaqiu Forum Pro • Posts: 25,639
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

nope never, but of you feel safer having one then get one, you can always remove it if necessary

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alan scott Regular Member • Posts: 447
Re: Yes Hoya Pro Digital UV(0) (nt)
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Kiwisnap Senior Member • Posts: 1,066
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

No, never have.

Don't use screen protectors on the back either.

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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 64,294
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?

nosiesta wrote:

Hello

What's the current thinking on using a decent UV filter to protect the lens outer element?

I always have in the past but just picked up a new lens and am debating it now. Obviously the quality of the lens is only going to be as good as the filter glass it's shooting through.

I do a lot of rock climbing so the chance of a scratch is higher than normal.

In the past I've always gone for a B+W UV (never a Skylight). Hoods add bulk and are faff (yep, I know they held with contrast and flare etc)

Thanks

I stopped fitting UV filters when I had a lens scratched as a result of the UV filter. My camera was dropped by a security guard in airport security, he picked it up, put it back on the tray with the other baggage and it wen't through the x-ray machine. When I picked it up, I was relieved to see it was unharmed, except that the filter had broken. When I looked more closely a little later waiting for the plane, I found that the broken glass had been pressed up against the lens, which now had a few scratches on it. Since then, I haven't fitted a UV filter - whilst it might help in some cases, there are others where it can make things worse. I don't think the bulk of a hood is a serious issue when climbing or hiking, they aren't that big and they are very light, and if you're not fitting the lens cap so as to be ready to shoot any time, then you probably would want to have a hood fitted anyway. I generally keep the hood fitted when the camera is round my neck. When the lens cap is on, mostly the hood fits reversed anyway, and then don't add appreciably to the bulk and ad a bit of protection to the outside of the lens.

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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 64,294
Re: I used to...
2

Smaug01 wrote:

...But someone once told me: "Why put cheap glass in front of expensive glass?"

I thought about it, and it makes a lot of sense, since every time light passes through a glass surface, some contrast is lost. This is why aspherical optics are so great. One lens surface with a compound curve can replace several old-school elements stacked together.

In all the years I did the UV or skylight filter, I never scratched one.

So now, I use hood or a lens cap.

For you, while climbing. You don't believe in hoods. (your loss)

But how about just keeping the lens cap on until you want to take a shot? The lens cap would be tethered to the camera, of course. Or could even be a collapsible, automatic lens cap, like on point & shoot cameras.

If the lens manufacturers really though that a filter in front was a good idea, you'd think they would sell the lenses with a matched filter already installed. They'd even make a bit of money selling replacement matched filters for the folks that broke them.

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JaKing
JaKing Senior Member • Posts: 6,233
Re: I used to...
6

Bob, Olympus sells lens hoods as optional extras.

They also sell filters as optional extras ...

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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 64,294
Re: I used to...
1

JaKing wrote:

Bob, Olympus sells lens hoods as optional extras.

They also sell filters as optional extras ...

I think every manufacturer does. Very often, the lens hood is included with the lens. Has been in several of my lenses. What I was thinking, is that if a protective filter is a good idea, they would design the lens with the fitment of a filter in mind, and include a filter which was matched with the design of the lens both mechanically and optically, but could be removed and replaced in the case of damage. Something different from any old filter. I suppose making the front element easily replaceable would be another option, as are the so-called 'fluorine coated' front elements in vogue nowadays (I'm sure they aren't coated with fluorine, fluorine is a noxious gas).

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Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 8,974
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

bobn2 wrote:

nosiesta wrote:

Hello

What's the current thinking on using a decent UV filter to protect the lens outer element?

I always have in the past but just picked up a new lens and am debating it now. Obviously the quality of the lens is only going to be as good as the filter glass it's shooting through.

I do a lot of rock climbing so the chance of a scratch is higher than normal.

In the past I've always gone for a B+W UV (never a Skylight). Hoods add bulk and are faff (yep, I know they held with contrast and flare etc)

Thanks

I stopped fitting UV filters when I had a lens scratched as a result of the UV filter. My camera was dropped by a security guard in airport security, he picked it up, put it back on the tray with the other baggage and it wen't through the x-ray machine. When I picked it up, I was relieved to see it was unharmed, except that the filter had broken. When I looked more closely a little later waiting for the plane, I found that the broken glass had been pressed up against the lens, which now had a few scratches on it. Since then, I haven't fitted a UV filter - whilst it might help in some cases, there are others where it can make things worse. I don't think the bulk of a hood is a serious issue when climbing or hiking, they aren't that big and they are very light, and if you're not fitting the lens cap so as to be ready to shoot any time, then you probably would want to have a hood fitted anyway. I generally keep the hood fitted when the camera is round my neck. When the lens cap is on, mostly the hood fits reversed anyway, and then don't add appreciably to the bulk and ad a bit of protection to the outside of the lens.

Your anecdote can be interpreted another way. Perhaps the breaking filter absorbed energy in the fall, saving the front element of your lens from a lot worse than a few scratches.

I dropped a holster bag containing my E-M1II with 12-60mm fitted. It was a straight drop of 1.5m into hard dirt - landing lens first with the lens cap being  smashed against the filter. The filter shattered. The front element suffered some minor scuffing to its coating but the lens was otherwise OK and fully operational for the rest of the vacation.

Peter

dpduck New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Filters are a MUST
7

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

(The link from Luminous Landscapes that someone posted, is full of utter nonsense. It is quite incredible that people believe such things and even quote them. Let me explain why are such articles ridden with misconceptions, so you will judge better.)

UV Filters

1. As for the UV filters, they are a must, first and foremost, because users seldom know exactly (especially when the new camera comes out) what level of UV filtering is applied onto the sensor, or what kind of coating lens has.

3. Increased UV also influences nearby parts of the spectrum, especially the HeV blues, and the UV filter helps to minimise the issues. If the UV is not controlled, expect some issues in your visible spectrum that the camera will record.

No UV Filter

UV Filter On

First, there is no movement in the clouds in the before and after pictures you posted. Except for post processing, they are identical. I doubt anyone can change out a filter that fast and not disturb the camera and tripod while doing the swap.  Stack and align them in your photo editor and you will see this is not a real UV filter test.

From my experience with UV filters on Olympus cameras, I will say don't use them. They do more harm than good. I've tried Tiffen, Hoya, and B&W filters and they all added reflections if there is a bright spot on the scene. The Tiffen didn't even reduce purple fringing.

I've found that the only protective filter worth using is Olympus's Zero coated variant. It's expensive, but you get what you pay for.  Otherwise it's a lens cap, air blower, and lens pen for me.

NextShowForSure Contributing Member • Posts: 765
Re: Do you use a UV filter as protection?
1

nosiesta wrote:

Hello

What's the current thinking on using a decent UV filter to protect the lens outer element?

I always have in the past but just picked up a new lens and am debating it now. Obviously the quality of the lens is only going to be as good as the filter glass it's shooting through.

I do a lot of rock climbing so the chance of a scratch is higher than normal.

In the past I've always gone for a B+W UV (never a Skylight). Hoods add bulk and are faff (yep, I know they held with contrast and flare etc)

Thanks

I definitely would not poke a lens out a carriage towards a steam engine pulling the train without a bit of protective glass on and any difficult conditions means it is a good idea to have one on you even if not used all the time.

Anyone who wants to sell on kit stands a good chance of regretting not using a filter when the time comes. Whilst people say a scratch on the lens has minimal impact it is a real pain when trying to sell it on.

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